Wednesday Walewanders

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  • Dontrelle Willis returns to the D as a reliever. If he continues to pitch the way he has in Spring Training and early in the regular season, his name might very well end up ahead of Damion Easley as the Tigers most expensive contract-as-main-course ever. Rob Neyer‘s already weighed in on the move.

  • Speaking of Mr. Neyer, in case you haven’t listened, today I posted an interview with him on the podcast. He thinks the Tigers are still very much alive in the A.L. Central; it’s Kenny Rogers and Willis, Neyer’s all but certain, who’re finished.

  • In case you need one more article on the effect of Jim Leyland‘s verbal fireworks, check out Mike Bauman‘s column on MLB.com.

  • Baseball and poetry? Why not? In college I penned a poem about my first game at Tiger Stadium. At BardBall.com, Tigers fan Jim Garner publishes baseball poetry — doggerel to be exact (I had to look it up). He’s featuring a poem on Freddy Dolsi’s first major league pitch. You remember it, the one to Manny Ramirez that might still be sailing. Here’s a sampling:

    Freddy went down the middle

    To show off his heat.

    Manny clobbered that apple

    Five hundred feet.

  • Remember Andrew Miller? (Ahem.) He has a birthday today — his 23rd. Other former Tigers celebrating include: Bryce Florie, Bob Molinaro and Earl Averill.

  • Wondering how some former Tigers are faring with their new clubs? Me too:
    • Chris Shelton, Rangers: .179, 2 HR, 3 RBI
    • Wil Ledezma, Padres: 0-1, 3.54 ERA, 1.54 WHIP
    • Tony Clark, Padres: .238, 0 HR, 1 RBI
    • Mike Rabelo, Marlins: .219, 1 HR, 7 RBI

    And here comes the Omaha Royals Trio:

    • Mike Maroth: 0-2, 12.91 ERA in three starts (7.2 IP)
    • Roman Colon: 0-0, 6.30 ERA in 10 IP
    • Jason Smith: .253, 10 HR, 27 RBI (His 10 homers lead the team.)

Finally, from Baseball-Reference.com, on this date in 1967, Earl Wilson gives Detroit its third straight win over the Yankees, 9-4. Mickey Mantle hits his fifth homer in six games but it’s not enough for Whitey Ford, who appears in his last ML game.

Happy Birthday, Ryan Raburn and Other Notes

Raburn turns 27 today.

A bevy of Tigers historical items occurred on this date in history. Here they are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com:

1955Al Kaline hits three home runs in Briggs Stadium, including a pair in the sixth inning, to drive in six runs. The Tigers rout the A’s 16-0, behind Steve Gromek‘s strong pitching.
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1960 – Cleveland Indians general manager Frank Lane, notorious for his multiple transactions, send American League home run king, Rocky Colavito, to the Detroit Tigers for the league’s defending batting champion, Harvey Kuenn. The trade is especially unpopular with Indians fans, who regard Colavito as their most popular player and best hitter.

1993 – The Detroit Tigers score 20 runs in a game for the second time this week, beating the Seattle Mariners, 20 – 3. Rob Deer is 1-for-2 and scores four runs, while Travis Fryman has four hits and scores five times. Chad Kreuter adds four hits and three runs and Gary Thurman paces the Tigers with four RBI. [Editor’s note: Gary Thurman?!]

2006 – Detroit’s Chris Shelton and St. Louis’ Albert Pujols hit their major league-leading ninth home runs, joining Mike Schmidt (1976), Larry Walker (1997) and Luis Gonzalez (2001) as the only players in MLB history with at least nine home runs in his team’s first 13 games.